Wednesday, January 16, 2013

FACT: drug-abusing moms produce drug-addicted babies.


I am on a short, eight week travel assignment here in Knoxville devoting most of my time to cosseting Kara's little pips and finishing my final quarter of grad school via distant-learning {bless you, internet!} but for ~thirty-six hours a week I have been spending my days working in a neonatal intensive care unit that feels more like a rehab center... shushing, swaddling and reinserting pacifiers in to the mouths of high-pitched screaming, tremulous, vomiting full-term {Read: if they hadn't been exposed to drugs in utero, they would be perfectly healthy} babies experiencing drug withdrawal. I have intermittently cared for newborns withdrawaling throughout the last four+ years but the pandemic it appears to be here in Tennessee {as one baby is born an hour that will go through withdrawal}, it is nothing short of devastating feeling as though these babies don't stand a chance in Hell in making it out of the grave social situations they were born in to. My profession can be hard and challenging but I have learned that I manage the heartbreak that some days hold best by giving my all while I am within those nursery walls + letting it all go by finding a healthy balance living a stress-free, silly, exciting,  adventurous life on every one of my days off... but here, I am finding myself not being able to let it go when I clock out. What is going to happen to these babies when they go home? What needs to be done to prevent babies from being born to drug abusers? While it is only my job to love them with all my being for a challenging twelve hours at a time, reserving judgment for higher powers {like the Department of Child Services... and karma}, it breaks my heart to nurse these helpless, little beings back to health knowing they will go home with the very same mothers who choose to do drugs during pregnancy. I try to remain hopeful + optimistic that these sweet souls will inspire their parents to get off drugs and give them the upbringing they deserve... but my instincts {founded in personal experience + research} tell me that is not the most probable outcome. I cannot save all babies...although some days with the proper cape + pair of shoes, I feel like I could...so I will have to resort to spending my remaining time here allowing these beautiful babies to borrow my heart and hope-to-goodness their mothers' figure out how to operate their own in the interim.      

Thursday, January 10, 2013

of squishy newborns, bamboo blankets, bottomless carafes of caffeine, vivacious two-year-olds + a reality that's better than dreams...

reese1 r&p r&p babyboy mamaRoo bigsister cutie r&p
Life around these parts have been some-kind-of-wonderful meets over-the-moon-awesomeness, sprinkled with a little bit of restoration... + a whole lot of caffeine consumption. Reese + Preston are at my absolute two favorite ages... the squishy newborn, swaddled in bamboo, full of lots of big yawns + wrinkly, one-eyed grins variety combined with the inquisitive toddler phase where chocolate milk is an acceptable breakfast, dancing around in your pajamas til 3pm constitutes a good day + everything that isn't a challenge::meltdown is big-belly-laugh funny. Every little moment with them gives each day so much meaning, it's hard to find motivation to do anything else {like go to work or write a gobjillion page paper that is due tomorrow...} when you just want to drink every bit of them up... knowing that in a short month, I will be forced to wake up from this eight-week, better than reality dream... and return to my final clinical portion somewhere in this country. The only saving grace: seventy days until I am a MASTER.  

Monday, January 07, 2013

a merry little new year.

meandlittlemister
Last Saturday {12/29/12}, my tiny nephew came in to this world a couple of weeks prematurely, weighing a teeny fivepounds//fifteenounces. Preston Reid spent a few days in the intensive care unit I am currently working in + while no words can describe the overwhelming feelings of happiness + sadness, hope + fear, + instant heart-bursting love that penetrated my usual routine of shushing + nurturing preemies as I would glance across the nursery in between feeding babies + see my sister kangarooing her fragile son, they/me/we are so happy that he was able to come home yesterday... healthy + sooo full of squishy, newborn goodness... + with the sweetest little wrinkle on his forehead, one just like big sister's.
reeseyb-1 I am so lucky to get to spend the first month of this merry, little new year drinking up southern comfort, cuddling little mister + fostering the imagination of a very precocious two-year-old. I am beyond thankful for these merry, little moments where life continues to allow me to temporarily be roommates with my sister again + again to love on her littles, play endless board games late at night + fold the occasional load of laundry. & I am so happy that the man she married is the big brother I always wished for growing up + that he is the only person that can recite as many awful lyrics of rap songs from the late 90's as I can.
winterI have a few lofty goals penciled in to my life schematic for this new year, both personally + professionally, and they can all be summed up in to two simple words: grow up!... The hard work put forth + sacrifices made in pursuit of big dreams this past year will come to fruition in beautiful coming-of-age discoveries + I'm over-the-moon excited to see where these merry, little new beginnings take me: across graduation stages... on trains through europe... over the threshold of a new home... maybe even in to the arms of someone special. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.  ;)
dub ...now, if you'll excuse me, I have some snuggling to do.